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Pistoia Alliance President Warns Pharmaceutical Industry Not to Undo the Advances it has Made During the Pandemic

Tackling global public health crises will require industry to continue overcoming trust issues and accelerate the safe sharing of anonymized patient data


Dr Steve Arlington, President of The Pistoia Alliance, a global not-for-profit advocating for greater collaboration in biopharma, is calling on the pharmaceutical industry to continue building on the advances in collaboration it has built over the past two years. Digital transformation has accelerated rapidly during the pandemic, which in turn has greatly improved remote patient monitoring, rapid online triage of patients, and the sharing of data. Dr Arlington is now urging organizations not to let old behaviors return to slow down progress.


“While we have made incredible scientific gains to address COVID-19, there are still many disease areas where very little has progressed in the last four decades, in terms of both treatments and outcomes for patients. Organizations must continue to work together to develop new therapies in areas such as dementia, for instance, one of the biggest challenges facing humans today. Society is now considering how we care for an aging population and research must be focused improving outcomes for all types of dementia,” commented Dr Arlington. “Another devasting disease we need to urgently address is pancreatic cancer. Currently, the combined five-year survival rate of pancreatic cancer is just 5-10%. Research is the key to improving this outlook and critically, improving early diagnosis. Collaboration will be critical to solving such issues.”


To address the numerous public health issues facing society today, global solutions developed through collaboration are required. Stakeholders in governments, regulatory authorities and the biopharmaceutical sector must look for further opportunities to develop a cross-disciplinary approach. Addressing pre-existing hurdles to cooperative working that hinder progress will enable progress in the life sciences at the same pace as has been achieved in developing COVID-19 vaccines. The industry also needs to improve access to real world patient data for use in R&D and put in place infrastructure that will enable safe data sharing.


“The biopharmaceutical sector has done a lot during the pandemic to rebuild trust in the industry. It now needs to take that even further to educate the public on the importance of data sharing, including the benefits of sharing their anonymized patient data. Many people have been understandably concerned about sharing personal information, but to enable big breakthroughs in areas like cancer and precision medicine, we all need to altruistically share our data for the greater good of research,” continued Dr Arlington.


The Pistoia Alliance has over 150 members ranging from global research-led organizations and medium enterprises to start-ups and individuals. Members collaborate as equals on projects that generate concrete value for the worldwide life sciences and healthcare community. The Alliance provides members with a legal framework to enable straightforward and secure pre-competitive collaboration. Its full portfolio of projects is accessible here:



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Last Updated: 07-Oct-2021